Friday, August 17, 2012

Let 'em Eat Muffins

As the tired, taxed and sometimes frustrated parent of a toddler, I'm often struck at how such a tiny human can test the emotional, intellectual and psychological limits of two smart grownups.  I swear, if we ever want to end the war on terror (or any other silly scuff-up the government feels compelled to enter us into) just embed a few toddlers in the homes of government and military leaders and, in a few weeks, they'll be too tired and confused to pick up their weapons.

Right now we're at the "picky eater" stage with Pixie.  Its super fun. Not only is she suspicious and truculent when presented with any dish that contains more than two ingredients, she wants her own food, not sloppy seconds off our plates.  That's fine but I'm not eating baby carrots, grapes and plain rice every night for dinner.  Solution?  Enter the muffin tin; my new favorite kitchen tool for creating kid-sized yet complete dishes that everyone seems to love.

Over the past few weeks, we've been converting some of our staple recipes into muffin tin size. So far, we've successfully created muffin-tin versions of lasagna (recipe below), mexican casserole, quiche, strata and spanakopita.  Pixie loves these because they're kid-sized.  Flyboy loves them because they travel well.  I love them because they provide automatic portion control and one recipe provides a week's worth of easy to reheat meals.

 Lasagna in Muffin Tins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 package of won ton wrappers
  • 2 C. Pasta Sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 C. Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1 C. Asagio or other dry cheese, grated
  • Cooking Spray

Directions

  1. Mix cheeses together in a bowl.
  2. Spray each cup of a muffin pan.
  3. Press a won ton wrapper into the bottom of each cup.
  4. Drop a healthy dollop of pasta sauce to about 1/2 way up the sides.
  5. Sprinkle a 2-3 TB of the mixed cheese on top of the sauce.
  6. Press another won ton wrapper on top of the cheese. Press down to compress the first layer.
  7. Add another dollop of sauce, followed by cheese.
  8. Cook at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. These can be frozen and reheated. 

 Makes 12

Footnotes

  • Feel free to play around with this recipe; its endlessly adaptable! You can also use mini-muffin pans to make these as easy appetizers. Just cut or tear the won tons in half and cook for 15-17 minutes. Also great to make with kids. 
  • You'll notice this recipe doesn't include any meat.  That's because we usually eat vegetarian but here's another benefit of the muffin tin; you can drop different ingredients into each serving as you like.  Add sausage to a few or make some more spicy, etc... make 'em your way!

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